Diabetic feet need special attention

(NC) Your feet get a lot of wear and tear no matter whether you regularly squeeze into high heels, go for a daily run, or stand all day at work. We expect a lot from our feet, but few of us give them much attention. Foot experts say, however, if you are living with diabetes your feet need daily care, otherwise serious complications may result.

“That advice is important since small foot injuries can develop into serious wounds if they are not cared for quickly,” says Anne Putnam, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 85 per cent of all leg amputations for Canadians living with diabetes are a result of non-healing foot ulcers and more than half of those life changing surgeries may have been prevented with more effective nail and foot care and by wearing appropriate footwear.

Feet are delicate structures, Putnam points out. Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and 19 muscles. As a typical adult walks an average of 6.5 kilometres every day and spends about four hours standing, our foot bones and joints take a lot of pounding.

“Healthy individuals can feel when their feet are sore or irritated, but many people living with diabetes may have reduced sensation in their feet,” she explains, “so they are unaware when a blister, cut or irritation develops.”

In addition to foot wounds going unnoticed, many of those living with diabetes also suffer from poor circulation in the feet which can delay healing and cause small sores to develop into wounds, foot ulcers and serious foot conditions. Putnam says conducting a preventative daily check is an effective way to catch rubs and cuts early and keep your feet healthy.

More information on caring for the diabetic foot can be found at www.pedorthic.ca.

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If you are living with diabetes, here are some pedorthic tips to help prevent the onset of serious foot injuries:

• Strive for excellent blood sugar control. The better you control your diabetes, the fewer diabetic complications you will have, including foot-related ones.

• Examine your bare feet every day for redness, abrasions or any change in their appearance.

• Wear moisture wicking socks and professionally fitted, supportive shoes.

• Invest in supportive slippers or sandals and wear them indoors at all times. Never go barefoot or wear just socks at home.

• Use foot orthotics to relieve pressure on sensitive areas.

• Visit a Canadian certified pedorthist once a year for a thorough foot and lower limb checkup.

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